Mystery & Thriller Week's Best of 'Ask the Author'

Posted by Cybil on May 4, 2017

Mystery & Thriller Week is sponsored by the psychological page-turner Good Me Bad Me.

For our first ever Mystery & Thriller Week, we asked thousands of Goodreads Authors (across every genre) to answer the same simple question: What mystery in your own life could be a plot for a book? Many of the answers gave us chills, others made us smile. Here are some of our favorite responses:

T.C. Boyle

"What, exactly, lives in the basement of the guesthouse, from which I have now humanely removed 140 rats, one opossum and one rabbit. A whole circus minimus goes on there every night. Who's the ringmaster?," T.C. Boyle asked.

D.J. MacHale

"I grew up in a haunted house. No joke. Everybody in my family had their own stories about odd things they'd seen or heard. It wasn't all crazy like Poltergeist or anything, but just creepy enough for us to believe there really was something strange and/or spiritual going on there. The house has long since been torn down, so there's no way to investigate to find out if it was indeed…haunted," wrote D.J. MacHale.

Josh Lanyon

"When I was in sixth grade I started playing hooky with a friend of mine—and I dragged my little sister along for the ride. Our favorite hideout was the tree-shrouded lot of a burned-out house beneath two apartment buildings. We loved playing in the ruins because the foundation was still there with all the cement stairs running up and down and every which way.

Anyway, one day my friend and I were fooling around per usual in the foundation of the house and an older man from one of the apartment buildings came over to the lot and asked us what we were doing there. He came down the stairs toward us and he was putting on black leather gloves. He told us we shouldn't be there.

As he reached the bottom stair, my little sister popped out at the top of the stairs, startling him. He took his gloves off, told us to go away and not come back or he would call the police. Then he left. At the time I didn't think a lot about it. Pesky adults always interfering! But later I began to wonder about that exchange—and to this day I'm not sure as to whether he was trying to frighten us or if he was really about to do something terrible," wrote Josh Lanyon.

Michelle Richmond

"While on a brief stopover vacation in Iceland 18 years ago, my husband and I were befriended by a nice young couple on the ferry from Reykjavik to Akranes. We did not exchange numbers, and we didn't even get their names, but they told us they lived in Ohio. At the end of the ferry ride, we wished each other well.

A few weeks later, I was at the movie theatre near our apartment on 84th street on Manhattan's Upper West Side. In the lobby, I saw the woman who had been on the ferry with us. I waved to her and smiled. She saw me, seemed to recognize me, but did not respond. She quickly turned and left the theatre. By the time I got outside, she was gone. I've always wondered what she was doing in my neighborhood, and why she ran away," wrote Michelle Richmond.

Deanna Raybourn

"On a hot day in Texas in 1904, my third-great uncle, Eugene, took his rifle and went in search of his wife. They had been married four years, but Annie—just 21 years of age—had walked out and Eugene refused to let her have the last word. He knocked on the door of her mother's house, and when Annie answered, he opened fire. After a week-long manhunt, a posse brought him to justice and he was sentenced to life in the state penitentiary. Twelve years later, he walked off a work detail and was never recaptured. He made his way north, assumed a new name, and bought a farm where he quietly lived out his life. He was buried in an unmarked grave, his obituary written for the name he chose for himself and no mention of his family.

We own the cedar chest he carved in prison. 'Mother' is etched into the wood in heavy, elegant letters, and every time I see it, I wonder about the hands that crafted it—the same hands that took the life of the woman he loved. What caused him to break that day in 1904? How did he plot his escape? How did he manage to survive as a fugitive? To buy a farm? And was there ever a day when he did not think of her, the young wife whose life he had ruthlessly stolen? We know he never remarried, and every time he filled out a census form, he wrote in his alias followed by a single word: Widower," wrote Deanna Raybourn.

Jo Nesbø">Jo Nesbø

"Where are they, all the left gloves I lost in life? And why always the left? I wouldn't have minded wearing two different gloves, I wouldn't, but not two for the right hand," wrote Jo Nesbø.

Anthony Horowitz

"The biggest mystery in my life was my father, who died when I was twenty-one. To this day, I do not know if he was a good man or a bad one (although the answer is that he was probably both). He had a number of very shadowy friends, many of them on the wrong side of the law, some of them connected to government. As a parent, he could be very cold and unkind. He ridiculed my dream of becoming a writer and yet he was a great lover of art and literature. He introduced me to Charles Dickens and Jane Austen and I still have many of his books in my library. When he died, every penny of his wealth disappeared and to this day we do not know what happened to it. I have almost no fond memories of him and I am puzzled how someone could be so close and so distant at the same time," wrote Anthony Horowitz.

Be sure to check out more of our Mystery & Thriller Week coverage here and browse our list of Featured Authors taking questions!

Good Me Bad Me

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